The 6.5 Guys
The 6.5 Guys are Steve and Ed, two guys who decided to start documenting their progress in long-range practical precision shooting.
A couple of years later and they have built a dedicated following on youtube and facebook. Consistently putting out high-quality content detail their equipment choices and use, the 6.5 guys have created a fantastic resource for anyone involved in shooting.
I have been following them for a while now and reached out for an interview.
Two great, friendly insightful guys.
You can check out their website here – http://www.65guys.com/
Q: Can you introduce yourselves and a little bit of what of the 6.5 Guys are about?
Steve: You bet. I’m Steven Lawrence.
Ed: And I’m Ed Mobley.
Steve: We started 6.5 guys in 2013 really as an experiment. We started off just video-taping ourselves at our range that we shoot at, just for practice, and we use it as a tool to sit back and analyse what we were doing and how we could improve. We posted a couple of views on social media with the idea of “Hey let’s see if people watch this stuff.” We actually experimented creating a YouTube first and it took off relatively quickly and so we kind of fell into it that way. But essentially what it has become is we are calling it as chronicling our journey as precision shooters. We don’t position ourselves as experts but we’re sort of anybody’s Joe out there; just regular guys. We have regular full time jobs and we do this for fun.
Ed: Yeah and sometimes the ebb and flow of our production is driven by the demands of our respective, you know as I like to say in a self-deprecating way, our paper-pushing day jobs, but they certainly enable us to do this. As Steve indicated the response has been very favourable. There has been a bit of a snowball effect. We will put out a video now and we will get viewership overnight that before would take us several months to get. Then having folks like you reaching out and having other equipment suppliers and competitors and what not is very flattering and is very encouraging.
Steve: In fact I consider this just as fun as the shooting part; is the people we meet and the places we get to go to.
Steve: It’s been very rewarding.
Ed: and the thing is that we consider ourselves journalists of the sport. You look at the top shooters and we recognise we’re a couple of middle aged guys and we’ll probably get a little better before we start getting worse, but our real contribution to the sport we believe is not just being the super top competitors. I mean we’re good competitors and we do well but we don’t want to put pressure on ourselves to have to be the top-top competitors.
Steve: Yeah that’s not why we are doing this.
Ed: Exactly. It’s like going to the matches to have fun. If you do well and get a good prize off the table that’s a bonus, but our real objective is to provide insight and understanding of the sport and to enable to people who are getting into the sport or maybe at an intermediate level and want to get better.
S: Yeah I really view ourselves as Ambassadors; like you said, of trying to build some exposure and public support for what it is that we are doing. We get to meet a lot of our audience members from time to time; they just come up to us and say, “This is my very first match and I’m here because of the information you put out there and the encouragement to just jump into it.” I find that extremely rewarding and very satisfying.
Ed: But the worst part of it is people say, “Hey Ed,” and I’m like… you know. You’re like, “Have I met you before?” I mean now we’re kind of getting used to it. I guess you said that you were at one of the big box retailers.
Steve: Yeah Big Box retail store; I was trying to get some hardware for a home project and I got caught off guard. I was so focused on trying to find what it is I was looking for and someone just came up to me and said, “Hey 6.5 Guys.” I thought it was very nice that somebody took the time to say hi, but again it kind of catches you off guard if you’re not ready for it.
Ed: We’re going to be on the [4.39] Show again for the third time and for your viewers that’s probably one of the world’s largest gatherings of the shooting industry. And you know when were at Shot Show last year people were saying, “Hey the 6.5 Guys,” and they’d take pictures with us. I mean that was nice but was interesting is who they were. We were finding out they were like people who were on Police Sniper Squads and there were folks from the Advance Marksmanship Unit. It’s like what could you possibly be getting from us right?
Steve: Just a couple of [5.21] that just do this on the weekend.
Ed: Exactly. The nature of our jobs; we’re both business consultants so we like to take a very data driven approach and break things down. As Steve said we don’t put ourselves out there as experts. And so people appreciate the very data driven and objective approach that we take; that really seems to be resonating.
Q: Something I found when I was getting into pistol shooting a couple of years ago is part of me, what I had seen of pistol shooting for example was everything online. A couple of years ago there was footage coming out from the instructors; that high tier or the high level competition, or your Travis [6.53] or those guys, and you’re kind of looking and going, “Well that seems to be a very specific group of people.” There was a lot of law enforcement, lot of military and lot of big arms and a lot of tattoos and I was kind of like, “What am I going to walk into?”
I remember the first day actually going to range and for lack of a better term like me, it was a group of, as you would call yourselves, paper pushers, geeks and gamers and guys who just wanted to shoot. It was a completely different group of people than I thought it was going to be. You have always got that element of the ex-military or the current military and law enforcement in there as well; but I am finding for a lot of it is just people who have got their day job and they’re 9-5 during the week and then on the weekends they do get out and shoot. And that’s why it’s refreshing to see you guys being data drive and a little bit more maybe accessible I guess. I am not ex-military but for the guys who don’t have that background it’s more relatable because of your guy’s background; it’s a lot more similar.
Ed: It’s interesting you mentioned the law enforcement and military. What we are seeing is a lot of them are coming to these civilian matches because we don’t have gear restrictions. So we’re an interesting laboratory for them to decide what works and doesn’t work from a gear perspective. When they do make changes they have to be very well thought out and deliberate because of all the supply chain considerations and our alliances with other countries and so forth that have compatibility. And so I just find that very interesting how they look at our sport and what we do as a credible source of information.
Q: In 2013 when you started did the PRS exist at that point? It would have been. Did you go straight in? Were you shooting PRS at that point or is that something you have gotten into since then?
Steve: It’s important to make a distinction that people say PRS and there is Precision Rifle Series is a group; it’s an organisation that’s been formed to organise national level competition and it’s called a series because these matches are run typically independently by individual match directors. They are “sanctioned” by Precision Rifle Series where they comply with certain rules of how they are to be run and how shooters are ranked. So they get put into a national ranking system.
Ed: I guess it’s a lot like IPSC and IDPA right?
Steve: Exactly. We tend to see a lot of PRS style matches because there are matches that are run just like any typical [9.50] match but they’re not “sanctioned” by PRS; they’re not recognised by the national organisation. So we compete probably more in those than official PRS matches. That’s where we met at one of these local club PRS like matches and recognised we had a lot in common and enjoyed shooting together so we naturally started becoming shooting partners. But I think it wasn’t until 2014 where we both signed up and actually registered with PRS to become ranked.
Ed: We met in 2013; we hooked up through social media. I guess both being consultants we realised how poorly we shot and so we figured out in a step wise fashion how to get better and as Steve mentioned our original video was just an I-Phone propped up. I think we were shooting off an incline and we just put it out there just to see what would happen.
Steve: 6.5 Guys if you actually look at our coat of arms or our log if you will, we actually poke fun at ourselves. There’s a little Latin phrase in there that says, “[11.06].” which translated loosely means old and slow but [11.14]. We can recognise we are middle aged guys that have a few extra pounds that we’re just getting out there and having fun.
Ed: We’re getting better right?
Ed: So that’s okay.
Q: I was saying to someone recently I feel old because I can actually say that I was a generation that was pre-internet, where we didn’t have this ability to share all the information. And the same now obviously with YouTube which my understanding is still your primary platform for getting your media out there.
Steve: And Facebook.
Ed: It’s interesting; most people find us through Facebook and YouTube, but we found out is each video has a detailed article. And what we found out is that the search engines key off these articles. So when you search on certain terms like just load development or shooting your first rifle match, just generic terms, that’s what gets hit.
Steve: That’s actually a very interesting point I would make; is we have written what I would call signature articles where we haven’t done videos for example on how to get into shooting or like our 6547 cartridge guide. We have written some very serious articles that actually have a lot of substance to them that we have put out on the internet. Those have gotten quite a bit of traction on the internet as just good pieces of information.
Ed: And we encourage anybody to link to them and put them on their website because it just helps us; it helps get the word out. Just so long as there’s attribution go ahead and copy whatever you want.
Q: It’s crazy, but I go and look through the website stats for my site and still the most popular post is a post I did years ago, not as a throw away post, but I didn’t think a whole lot about it, on T-bone steaks. What is a T-bone steak? How should you cook a T-bone steak? Some months it will get twice the hits of all the articles I have spent all this time researching and writing. Everyone is there to see about the T-bone steaks and the website is not really about T-bone steaks but obviously Google now thinks that it is.
Ed: It’s interesting you mention that because right now our moist popular videos are the ones on load development. We originally hesitated to do that because it’s like…
Steve: There’s so many videos and articles on that.
Ed: The last thing is we don’t want to do any ‘need to’ videos; we want to make sure that we provide fresh new information but just had a lot of people ask us about load development and it was like, “Okay fine, we’ll do the video.”
Steve: That plus we have a good friend Scott [14.16] who has been in a couple of videos. It was interesting because he had actually been watching some of the stuff that we had put out. I remember meeting him at a match and he said, “Hey what about this idea?” and he started talking to us about his load development. The three of us got into this conversation and we were like, “We should get together and actually do a video on it.” It’s actually been one of the most popular ones that we have done.
Ed: Exactly and the approach we use now by essentially using just the chronograph data to identify a good load. I mean we’re even doing some load development now, when the weather is bad or we really don’t have the time, just off my back porch I put on a suppressor with my magneto speed. So far there’s very high correlation between the best chronograph data gives you the best group on paper and at that range. Until we start seeing a divergence of that, that’s the approach that we’re going to continue to take; it’s so convenient.
Q: I think that’s it; like you say convenient. You are not dependent on having a range or a good amount of weather going in there. I did a similar thing. After reading your article on your site I did a test. I tested it with OCW and the tested it using the 6.5 Guys system and then talking to somebody now who has got Quick Load so that we can also try and develop one using OBT and see if we can kind of find a predictor load before I even pull the trigger once; which again saves us having to run all that ammunition through your barrel and find that load quicker. I guess that’s the goal, because if you can predict that load it just saves wear and time. I don’t know. I enjoy going out and doing load testing but I would prefer to just be shooting rather than having to do that process. I know other people love…
Steve: Yeah I was at the range today and we got a bunchy of bullets to test. It took me literally almost three hours to kind of get through all of my testing. I hadn’t really planned on spending that much time doing it but it takes time and if you’re putting a lot of rounds through a barrel, particularly like a 6mm, you’re just wearing it out.
Ed: Exactly, but it’s interesting you mention OCW and optimal barrel time. I did OCW before Scott Satterley shared his approach with us and it just so happened that the OCW load was also the one that had the lowest standard deviation and lowest extreme spread. And so we don’t discount the OCW approach; we don’t discount the optimal barrel time approach. Because what’s good in those other techniques…
Steve: I think the right [17.28]; you triangulate towards the same answer.
Ed: Yeah exactly.
Q: Yeah that’s what I have been finding as well. So that’s why I am interested with the OBT because I’ve got a funny feeling that yes I am going to end up with the result; it’s like the third time it’s telling me the exact same load that I should be using with this rifle.
Steve: Well it would be good to know; let us know how that turns out.
Q: You’re obviously doing the reviews, you’re doing a lot of the filming and stuff; has it sort of changed your approach to your equipment use and evaluating equipment; or has it been something that you have always been interested in just trying those different systems and different products and stuff. Did you kind of go, “Well now we need to do more of it because of the videos?” You were doing it already and you just started filming it basically?
Steve: I will start off; at least my perspective. I have always kind of fascinated just by different gear. I guess I am kind of gadget freak to begin with; really into kind of electronics and stuff. I love kind of seeing new products, new innovation and new ideas being brought to market. I think as a competitive shooter guys are always trying to look for that extra edge of can this piece of gear be used in such a way? Or even it might be gear that’s been out there for a while and there is a new way to use this in such a way that I can bring something new to the competitive game. So I look at it from that angle.
In fact I see a lot of stuff out there; people bringing stuff to market that I am not sure how it’s new or how it’s innovative but we’re always trying to keep an open mind to kind of new ways of how things can be used. In terms of the stuff that we use, we only use stuff that works for us. If we recognise a product that somebody uses and if it’s effective for them; and it may or may not work for us.
In fact we just shot a video earlier today that we went through and showed what we personally will take to a match and the gear that we use. It may not be the same gear and I think in some instances it is a lot of the stuff that the top shooters use; but we recognise everyone is different and everyone has different tastes.
Ed: We did a similar video a year and a half ago and obviously things change. If I understood your original question it’s the fact that now we produce videos and do this, does that somehow drive our equipment selection? No. I mean again it’s a journey and we’re always wanting to optimise what we do. We are basically documenting that journey and so we are going to continue to optimise and share those results.
Things have changed a bit in so much as now people send us stuff for evaluation and we’ll certainly share our experience with that, but we are not going to let our equipment choices be dictated just to create a video or just because somebody sends us something.
Steve: I think we try to be clear. I think if you watch the gear updates that we do, we try to put them out every week although sometimes we miss some weeks. But I think you will recognise if you watch those carefully, there are certain pieces of gear that we will clearly state, “Hey we use this, we love it,” and if you watch other episodes you will actually see we’ve used that gear in the film.
There’s other products where it’s new and we’re just introducing it. We’re not necessarily offering an opinion or an endorsement; it’s really to build awareness and saying, “You guys may not have seen product x but here it is, here’s what it does, and if you find this of interest go to the website and check it out.” So we’re doing that just to build awareness and to drive some exposure for a [21.40].
Ed: Yeah because every shooter is different right? And so we may look at a product and maybe it doesn’t resonate with us, but some other shooter might see that and for them, for their physique or for the type of shooting that they’re doing, it might be the greatest thing since sliced bread. And that’s great and that’s why we do it; that’s why we put stuff out there.
Q: I should clarify. The videos you’re doing don’t just come across as infomercials. There are other channels out there that you would swear they have been sent something and it’s just the greatest thing they’ve ever used and then the next week it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever used, and the next week it’s the greatest thing they’ve every used. But like you say, it’s great because it’s putting the awareness out there. Try it out for yourself as well. We like this element of it. I have done similar things. I like this about it. For certain items there’s things I have said, “Well I’m not going to use it for this reason, this reason and this reason, which are individual to me.” Whereas other people yes it going to be much more suitable to them.
The other side which I suffer from sometimes as well because again I enjoy just trying all these different systems and equipment and everything like that. How do you balance chasing new toys or new gear to make you a better shooter versus learning the equipment that you have and getting the most out of it. This is something I have suffered with as well.
Ed: I have run out of money.
Steve: I have come slowly to learn this lesson because I get quickly distracted by kind of the newest whizz bang cool stuff where I am like, “Wow that’s a sic looking rifle, I wish I had one just like it.” I think you will see in my continuing journey through Precision Rifle I have tried a lot of different [23.41]. I have been using quite a bit that [23.45] elite tactical [23.49]; the carbon fibre shell stock which I really love and now I’ve just got a second one. My belief is they’ll probably begin to standardise that and sell off a couple of the chassis that I have. I have tried a lot of stuff now and I also recognise that if you kind of use just one piece of gear you’re not constantly having to change your muscle memory to accommodate your shooting style to a particular piece of gear.
Ed: I am different than Steve in that respect because I make changes at a glacial pace. I’m a creature of habit. When I travel, when I’m at a hotel I sit at the same table at the same place for breakfast if I can. Because it worked and unless there is a compelling reason to change it I won’t. But will always entertain incremental improvements; I mean don’t get me wrong. But as far as what I am going to bring to a match the changes I make are very gradual and very deliberate because I don’t want to change a whole bunch of things at once and then create this multi-variable equation where if I’m shooting better or not as well is like what really affected that change? Again I will do a lot of experimentation but I am very, very careful about actually changing something that I will actually take to the firing line.
Q: You can see obviously one of the real sitters as an example of it is people’s calibre choice because there always seems to be the new favour of the week in calibre. I guess 6.5 Creed has been a great example of one that has really got in there and stuck, but there’s still a lot of other versions in there and everything. But we all know somebody who can still probably outshoot all of us with their old trust .308.
Ed: Yeah like [25.53].
Q: But they know how it shoots; they know the drops and more importantly they probably know how to read wind better than anybody so they’re just on the target all the time.
Obviously you guys are called the 6.5 Guys but I think Steve recently you started shooting a 6mm?
Steve: Yeah a 6XE. This season I shot quite a bit of 6XE. Again looking on the other side of the hill because you always see competitive shooters that are shooting 6 and when I looked at available cartridge choices I decided to try it in 6XE. It was more an experiment and a curiosity to see is there something there for me that can offer something that would make me a better shooter to score better; let’s find out for myself with some first-hand experience. So it’s been an interesting experience. I think once that barrel is done, which will probably be sometime early next year, I will probably end up going back to the 6547. I haven’t made a final decision but that’s kind of where I am leaning because what I found at least for me personally is I shoot much more consistently, and I don’t know if it’s my loads or just kind of how finicky that cartridge might be or that calibre choice. My experience is with the 6547 it is just much more consistent and predictable what I am going to get every time.
Ed: And consistency and predictability that’s the name of the game. Most of the shots in this game out in the western US are between 400-800 yards and so trying to eek out the very last bit of ballistic efficiency and significantly decreasing your barrel life. I’m happy with the 6.5 but 47 doesn’t mean I’m not going to try a 6mm one of these days. But then again you look at all the top shooters and they’re all shooting 6mm; even 6XE Regina Milkovich I know and Jake Vibbert [28.14] and others.
Steve: Jake’s actually the one that talked me into going 6XC.
Q: Similar thing down here. I was looking at a build. I have got somebody who has basically go the tooling to do 6.45SLR.
Steve: That’s a [28.34].
Q: And he’s got a very convincing argument for it as well, but then I was looking; there’s a 6SLR. But the discussion we were having for New Zealand is a 6.5 projectile wise we have got a lot more choice of things easily available down here than when we get into the 6mm as well. So that becomes another factor of how accessible are the components you want for it? I would suggest it’s going to be much less of an issue for you guys over in the states where they are all actually produced. But yeah down here it’s more hunting based is what a lot of the shooting is; so all the loads and all the available components link towards that.
And down here because I think there’s not as much of the practical style shooting – we’re the field shooting – and there’s still a lot of guys who are wanting their .338s or they’re wanting big; big bangs and big loud noises as well. But I think as it will change, there’s more guys now and there is a lot of the 6.5s, the 55 or 47 down here – the guys shooting them.
Steve: I think right now particularly for a beginning shooter the common question is what cartridge should I start with? We have kind of boiled it down to like, “Are you going to reload or not?” and if they said, “We’re going to reload,” then it’s 6.5×47. If you’re not going to reload it’s 6.5 Creedmoor simply because there’s just a really good selection of accurate off the shelf ammunition.
Q: Give it another year and I would suggest it would be the same down here. At the moment though it is still sitting at your .308. My first competition rifle was .308. It was like tried and tested. I knew I could get parts and I knew I could get everything for it. Now it would be very close to going, “Well 6.5 Creed will probably do the job better.” But we’re just starting to see some of that match ammo for it come down and be available off the shelf essentially.
Ed: People here are calling 6.5 Creed the new .308. I mean it’s become so readily available…
Steve: Exactly. There’s not a compelling reason to start with .308 anymore.
Ed: Although next year we’re going to be shooting .308s.
Steve: Yeah [31.02]; because we’re actually going full circle back to .308.
Q: It’s out of interest? You’re wanting to go back to .308? You’re looking at shooting in a particular class or division?
Steve: Yeah that’s basically the main driver is PRS has a tactical law enforcement competition division and they’re starting to put a few more restrictions around it to basically even the game up. You can quickly make it into an arms race if there’s no rules around what projectiles you can use and so on. So they’re going to put those rules in place. So there’s that element which we think will be interesting I think also from the folks that follow us. A lot of them probably are new shooters or have an interest in getting into this and probably may already have a .308 sitting in their safe that they can quickly use it as is, or drop into a chassis and put a new trigger on it and take it to a match.
So what we want to do is produce a little bit of content next year, kind of geared towards them that says, “Hey we’re going to go take a .308.” I have one that is basically that; it’s a Remington 700 that’s been accurized with a new barrel. I will start off with that. We’re going to test out some new exciting bullets that have come out; so you may have just heard about the [32.32] reduced [32.31] the RDFs that came out. There’s some that we are testing from one of our sponsors.
Ed: Mid-South; they’ve got Match Monsters – so 155 [32.44] 30 calibre bullet.
Steve: And there’s the old Palma [32.46] by the 155 [32.47] Lapua and we’ll see how those stack up.
Ed: One thing we really liked about the 65×47 brass was that small rifle primer and just how stout that cartridge is. So we are actually using the 308 Palma brass which actually has a small rifle primer and Lapua was kind enough to provide us with the brass; so we’re going to give that a shot. Since we tend to run at near max it’s nice to have a really stout case like that and I think brass life too; you’re going to have primer pockets loosen up on you like you probably would with a large rifle primer.
Steve: Then [33.35] has the LDX, you the know the LD bullets which they came out with last year, but it’s another kind of compelling offering. So I think there’s just a lot of kind of new bullet technology that’s new from where it was a couple of years ago that are giving shooters a lot of different choices to take a look at. We’re going to kind of see if we can [33.59] a good competition load and then we’re going to be competing in PRS in the mill, the O Division and see how it goes.
Ed: And another thing that kind of excites me is one of the reasons that people go to 6mm from 6.5 is to reduce recoil. So we’re going into the completely different direction. I am sure we will never complain about the 6.5 recoil again. But then it becomes a question of we know the .308 is going to be accurate; it’s an accurate rifle but it’s curious to see from what I when I was shooting .308 before with 155 [34.46] it’s like what about those new bullets in the 175 grain weight class, what can those really do at long range? And then it’s trying out the different muzzle breaks and seeing what we can do to really attain the recoil of that rifle. I have a real kind of academic curiosity around that.
Steve: And I believe it make us better shooters. If you can maintain good recoil management and a good site picture through that shot, it’s going to pay dividends down the road. I mean if you jump back on your 6.5 or 6mm rifle. Because I know our friend Jack Vibbert currently ranked one person in the nation, he pretty much practices everything he does that’s not in a match and he’s running a .308.
Ed: That additional recoil in learning to manage it; it just makes you a better shooter. And so then when you just move to that 6mm it probably feels to him like a Rimfire when he does that.
Q: When I was interviewing Regina a week before last she said exactly the same thing. She’s got a training rifle which is .223, her match rifle is a 6XE, but then leading up to the match she will be shooting a .308, so that when she gets back behind that 6XE which is set up the same muscle memory wise – same chassis and system I believe – but the recoil is by comparison is gone.
Ed: And I think that’s important because in this game or sport some of the trigger techniques you have to use are a little different depending on the situation. Sometimes you have to be very aggressive on trigger; maybe sometimes a little slower. But when you have to be aggressive at times that can induce anticipation or flinch and so I think what Regina said is very valid, and of course what we have observed with folks like Jake, is if you get used to a .3008 then I think with the other calibres it will allow you to be a lot more aggressive on the trigger but not induce anticipation or flinch. Kind of like when you get behind a Rimfire; you never anticipate or think about it going off, versus if somebody says, “Hey do you want to get behind my .338?”
Q: Right now there’s people watching this going .308? That doesn’t have recoil. Come and shoot the .338 or the [37.15].
One thing that I follow which is of interest to me, that I actually hadn’t seen before, and then funnily enough having this conversation with Regina and it was like, “Oh, same thing.” You guys put a video up which was reloading on a progressive basically; or match loading or accurate loading on a progressive, which really interests me because for my pistol shooting I have got a .550 down there and then I have also got my single stage. The difference speed wise between the two is obviously phenomenal. So I was very interested when I started watching what you guys were doing about just speeding up that reloading process. Again I understand some guys love the time they spend down on the bench, because they maybe get to escape the main house and it’s a thing that they do, and I enjoy the process, but also if I can spend less time doing that and more time shooting that is a preference to me. And then I was surprised to find that again Regina is loading all of her match hammer on a 550 as well.
I guess was that something that you’ve always been reloading on a progressive and you just started loading the match stuff, or it was something you experimented with, or how did that sort of come about?
Ed: David [38.38] was reloading on a 550 15 years ago, maybe even longer. He had made some modifications and I remember watching those videos even before I got into this shooting. But I had a 550 and I bought it just for loading pistol. I thought to reload precision rifle rounds it’s got to be on a single stage so I had a Redding turret press and I had a Forrester Co-Ax, but one day I was just down there and I had to reload 300 rounds and I was like, “This is going to take forever.”
Steve: Yeah this is I see as a [39.17].
Ed: So the first thing that really sped things up for both us prior to the progressive press was the lanolin spray loop. Sometimes you see videos on stuff and you’re like, “I don’t know if that’s going to work.” Man the first time I used that lanolin lube I mean it was pure ecstasy because before that I was using the Imperial dye wax and then I felt really smart when I could do five at a time on a lube pad; I thought was really speeding things up. So that was the first step but I was still reloading on a single stage.
So Steve and I we were both going on the single stage and then I remember I saw that 550 and it was all dusty. I was like, “You know what, I’m going to give that thing a shot because I’ve got to speed this up.” And then when I started doing measurements around concentricity and then when I looked at the chronograph results and when I looked at the results on paper it was as good if not sometimes better than what I was getting off my single stage press.
Steve: Now it’s his single stage press that’s dusty.
Ed: Oh yeah, I’ve unbolted those and now on the 550 I do everything; everything from pistol to rifle.
Steve: I haven’t quite made that job yet; I’m still single stage press. The only exception right now is my trainer, the .223 trainer. I am running a [41.00] lock and load. It’s not a progressive. But I think the key factor there that allows me to get the consistency is (1) we’re using a real fine XVR80 208 which is a very fine extruded powder [41.21] like a dream through the [41.23] powder drop measure. It’s very consistent; I am always nine times out of ten within or either right on and the tenth time it might be out by .1. So for a practice load it definitely gets me on target. I can crank out 1200 rounds; two boxes of 600 in a day at a fairly easy pace.
When we start jumping into .308 and I’ve [41.51] a load, probably going to be using that same powder and that same press.
Ed: Yeah because that 82-08 has got a burn rate right around H48-95 and even in the Dillon powder measured metres like a dream now with the exception of my .223 practice ammo I individually weigh the loads even though I am using the Dillon because Dillon has a powder dock that allows you to do that. But we’re hearing really good things about XVR80-208. In the .308 it’s extremely temperature sensitive. It is made in Australia so I assume it’s made by ADI who makes [42.27] and all of that. We really, really want that to work, put it that way.
Steve: Huge time savings.
Ed: Then we could just crank out .308 ammo like there’s no tomorrow.
Steve: I think when you are a high volume shooter and you reload, which in most cases those two things come hand in hand, you’re looking for every time saving process you can find; to the extent that you can take what you’re doing, a single stage movement to a progressive, and you’re just going to save time and spend more time on the range.
Q: I think the thing is, myself included, I always had this 550 there but I never considered using it for any of my rifle because the general consensus was, “No if you want accuracy you’re going to be doing it on a single stage.” I still think it’s an interesting point that you have brought up. I think it’s that balance between how accurate do I need it ultimately; and we’re not necessarily talking bench rest or F class territory, versus I am going to need 200 of them to shoot over a course of a day, versus a box of 20.
Steve: Here’s the amazing thing. I thought I would have to make a bit of trade off on quality for speed. I thought I would have to do a bit of trade off. But the chronograph results, I mean last time I was out I got an SD of two. [44.00]. If my SD is above five I’m disappointed. But all of the objective measurements that I have taken from concentricity to consistency of seating depth to what you see on paper, to what you see off the chronograph, I am not trading quality for speed. That’s what is incredible. I am very, very happy.
Now some people could argue that there’s probably some incremental quality to be had with really high end single stage press and high end dyes and I won’t argue with that. But for what we do, put it this way, I am not looking right now to explore any other reloading options because the reason I am missing targets is not because of some deficiency in reloading.
Q: What I had explained to me as well is that you for brass prep and reload you can do many, many stages and many more stages than I would ever do, but a very smart gentleman who can shoot a lot better than me said, “Why don’t you just get it up to a very good point, which you’re doing already, and spend the rest of the time learning how to read wind,” because he said “That will make more difference for you at this point than spending another three hours prepping all that brass and making sure everything is a hundred percent.” And I tend to agree with him at the moment.
Ed: You can’t read wind with a degree of resolution; that may be neck turning. The additional accuracy that you got from maybe neck turning and doing some other additional time consuming activity is just going to be lost in the static of just wind for example. So I would agree with him one hundred percent.
: But I think the challenge is that it can be satisfying because you can measure that neck turning; you can measure that and go, “Yes we have reduced it down,” but that might not actually translate to hitting that target anymore.
Ed: Well if I can get an indentured servant who will do all my neck turning I will start neck turning. But talking about the precision and reloading from your neck of the woods, we got the [46.24] from your neck of the woods; so there’s a piece of New Zealand up here where we are.
Q: I added that in my questions because that popped up on your site recently. I was in a store today, a new Hunting & Fishing and shooting store and they’ve got a reloading area up there and there’s a [46.48] up there. I have a [46.50] here as well but I have used AMP and I was trying to say very nicely to these guys that the time of the [46.56] may have just been completely superseded by the induction and by this AMP unit because of as you guys are aware with the ability to send you brass in and then to actually test it in a laboratory.
So out of interest actually for a product like that that’s come out of New Zealand, how did you guys hear about it?
Steve: They reached out to us. So this was an instance where from time to time, I would say maybe once a week, somebody that says, “Hey I’ve got this product, do you have an interest, let’s talk.” We do often find new products that way which is interesting.
Ed: Yeah and prior to them reaching out to us I had seen a video on it many months prior and I will admit when I first saw it I was like, “I’ve got to insert the brass and push the button,” and I had originally discounted that. But when actually got a unit and had a chance to evaluate it, it was like we bought one, put it that way.
Q: I think every now and then a product comes through that sort of just lifts the bar again and just changes. I am sure now everyone else will go, “Right we need to do a [48.20] and we need to do it automated on this level as well.” But it’s a cool example of just somebody really thinking about it and lifting the bar for everybody else really.
Ed: And what’s exciting though is it comes out of New Zealand. Steve and I talk about this a lot. You can really see how the sport is maturing and growing because not only do you have a great selection of products from the US, which you would expect because we’ve got a real shooting culture in the US, but when you see just great products coming from around the world and that become available around the world and just aren’t sold say in New Zealand but globally, I mean I think that’s very exciting.
Q: For the guys listening in who want to find out more about the 6.5 Guys and what you’re up to, how do people find out about your site and about your videos you’re putting out.
Steve: All of our articles and videos are posted to our website and that’s the preferred medium just because of our folks that sponsor us and our advertisers.
Ed: They want to see hits.
Steve: They’re going to see a few of who those folks are. The other place, a lot of our more random stuff, will hit our Facebook page which is ‘sixfiveguys’. So we’re on Facebook.
Ed: But the links are on the website so there’s just one place to go; just 65guys.com and then you can see everything.
Q: Awesome. Alright guys, thank you very much again for your time; really appreciate it. Enjoy your evening over there.
Ed: Thanks; really appreciate it thank you.
[End of recording 50.22]
Originally published: August 11, 2017
Lasted updated: May 6, 2018
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